Chapter 1: The Stress Begins

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I lifted my head from behind the book I was reading, just as the bell rang for the end of fourth lesson. Finally. I threw my things into my bag and headed out the class, entering the nightmare that was high school corridors. I jumped as someone grabbed me from behind.
"Guess who?" the voice said, giggling.
"God, Scarlett, what the hell is wrong with you?" I gasped, "If I fell here, I would've died. Are you trying to kill me?"
"Maybe.. Hey!" She yelled as I hit her with my book. "Atleast it'd put you out of your misery for prom. The prom hype is beginning." She nodded at a poster on the wall as I groaned.
"I hate prom!" I moaned, "We've been going together as friends for years now, and you know I love you Scarlett but really.. I need a date." Throughout all of high school, we'd had a prom every year, sponsored by the ridiculously rich kids at our school. And every single year me and Scarlett had gone together as friends, because we'd never been asked out to prom. Never. I couldn't say I was suprised, really. I was the quiet, smart girl who wore glasses and didn't party every friday but instead sat at home reading. I wasn't completely invisible, but most people just knew me as the "smart girl", and didn't bother to get to know me. So it was just me and Scarlett, spending every prom with each other and a bowl of punch.

Scarlett bit her lip nervously as we sat down in the canteen.
"What is it? Are you not gonna make it to prom?" I asked. As much as we hated it, there was something about prom that made it feel unmissable, and we gave into the temptation every year.
"Of course I am, it's just.. Piper, I'm really sorry but Oliver asked me out to prom and I said yes and I know we always go together but it's the first time I've been asked and-" She blurted, too fast for me to understand.
"Calm down, and explain to me- in English this time." I said.
She sighed, "Oliver asked me out to prom, and I said yes. I'm really sorry Piper, I know it's always us two but I've never gone with a date before." I stared at her for a bit, suprised and to be honest, quite hurt. I know I shouldn't be but I couldn't help it, even though I'm sure I would've done the same. But the realisation that you were going to spend prom either alone or as an awkward third wheel wasn't the happiest thought.
"It's fine," I said, "Congrats though, you have a date for prom! And Oliver too," I said, wiggling my eyebrows at her. Oliver was a quiet math geek who wasn't drop dead gorgeous but wasn't exactly unattractive either. I noticed Oliver had fancied Scarlett for a while now. He hadn't had the courage to ask her out to prom before, whereas Scarlett had had the courage but didn't want to be the only girl in the school to ask a guy to prom. Damn stereotypes.
She laughed and then gave me a sympathetic look,
"You're going to get a date this time, Piper, don't worry. You're heaps prettier than me, plus more people know your name than mine." I smiled in appreciation.
"You know what? I am. Because this year Piper Addams is going to find a date." I stood up, and she clapped.
"Go Piper!" She said, and started laughing again. I sat down, grinning to myself. I was going to find a date this year. I was not going into Senior year as the girl who's never had a prom date. Who I was going to take, I had no idea, but I was going to find one. If the school janitor was my last choice then I'd take him, but I was not going to prom alone.

We finished our lunch, and spent the rest of our free time watching possible dates for me. Creepy, maybe, but necessary. I pointed out Adam -- who Scarlett said was already taken. She pointed out Dylan Paige, at which I laughed. Dylan was probably taking 5 girls to prom, at the same time. A nerd like me was the last person he was take.
A while later and there was no guy that I had a chance with.
"I'll go ask the janitor if he's free." I said, giving up.
"He is kinda cute..." I stared at her in horror. The janitor looked like a 50 year old man who never took a cigarette out of his mouth and had a bath in alcohol.
"You really need to stop taking me seriously." She laughed at my reaction. As the bell for the end of lunch rang, I headed to class with Scarlett, before I realised I forgot my bag. I hurried back by myself, against the river of people coming my way. As I reached the end of the crowd, I lost my footing and nearly landed flat on my back on the ground. But a hand grabbed me and pulled me up.
"Thanks so much! Agh I'm so clumsy, I'm sorry." I stopped as I looked at him. He had amazing green eyes, and a cute smile. I was immediately in love.
"It's fine, be careful though." He said. He could be my prom date. The thought rang through my head. And then, her timing could not be any more perfect, a tall girl stepped next to him and put her arm through his.
"What's happened?" She asked. He smiled at her and said,
"Nothing babe. Just saved a life, that's all." They laughed, and I joined in, laughing uneasily. This girl intimidated me.
"I'll just go." I muttered, heading away.
***

"Green eyes?!" Scarlett practically shrieked through the phone.
"Green eyes," I said, and added, "and a girlfriend." I could almost see her smile wilting.
"Oh." She replied, disappointed.
"I can't give up yet, I have to find someone. I can't go into Senior Year without having had a prom date before!" I said, lying on my back on my bed.
I heard a snort, and then my younger brother, James, stepped out of my bathroom.
"James!"
"I'm going, I'm going. Just getting a towel." He said, grinning as he walked out. I felt my cheeks heat up. He had obviously heard me talking to Scarlett, "And just a tip? If you want a prom date you might wanna change that." He said, pointing.
"Change what?" I huffed.
"Your face." He said, and ran off laughing. I hate having a brother.
"Hey, you still there?" I said into the phone. Scarlett was laughing on the other side.
"Sibling problems? Who cares if your brother knows, anyway. Right now, we need to find a guy." Once again, we spent a while going over different guys. There were some I could go with, but I was all too aware of the awkwardness that would be between us the whole prom. Going alone seems easier than that.
"The thing is.. I don't want just another quiet smart kid like me who people don't notice. I want to go with a hot guy, with a nice car, nice suit and without a curfew of 8pm." I said, thinking of all the chick flicks I've watched.
"I thought you thought looks weren't everything?" She scoffed.
"I know, he has to be nice too. A nice, attractive guy, is that so much to ask?" I said, already knowing the answer in my head. Of course it was, this is high school.

***

The next day during every lesson, I checked out the guys in my class. Too arrogant, too annoying, has a date, has a date, has too many dates, too popular.. the list went on. And then the teacher decided to give us a pop quiz for history, which I aced, and then set us enough homework to keep us occupied for the rest of the year. What was with teachers and homework- we had 5 days of school a week, was that not enough? And history wasn't exactly the most interesting subject. I was practically asleep at lunch, with my head on the table. That was until the screaming began. There was barely anybody in the canteen today, and every head turned towards the noise. I rolled my eyes. Paris.
Paris Edwards, your typical Queen Bee. Blonde, tall, pretty, and very, very rich. And had a perfect relationship, worthy of a chick flick, dating the schools best basketball player, Derek Jameson. Only, it didn't seem so perfect at the moment.
"You can't dump me one month before prom!" Paris screeched.
"Look, babe, I know it's bad timing, but I just don't think this relationship is working." He said nervously. Who wouldn't be nervous? Paris was a psycho.
"What's not working is that you think it's okay to leave your girlfriend just before prom! I've already planned our outfits! What are you gonna do, find another girl and go off with her instead of me? You know what, fine! Fine! Go with someone else, but just remember they'll never be as fun or pretty as me!" She screamed at the top of her lungs, and at this point I'm suprised the windows are still intact. She stormed off, and slammed the door of the canteen, nearly throwing it off its hinges. Derek stood there awkwardly, scratching his head. He then began to follow her, but thought better of it and went the other way. As soon as he left, the room filled with the sound of shocked and excited voices. I hadn't realised so many people had arrived.
"You're not the only one with problems for prom then." Scarlett said.
"Please, Paris is probably gonna have guys all over her already. Meanwhile, I'm still left with the janitor as my date." I said and groaned, laying my head on the table again.

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